After taking part in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, called by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and held in Beijing, Spain’s Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy, highlighted the economic, trade and cultural benefits that the New Silk Road project will have in the medium- and long-term for our country.
According to Mariano Rajoy, the main aim of the project to be implemented as a result of the Belt and Road Forum, which included the participation of some 30 Heads of State and Government, “is to enhance global unity, and ensure that everyone benefits from this union and that the effects are positive for all countries”. The goal, said Rajoy, “is to improve those infrastructures that unite different people around the world, make progress on free trade – which is very important for improving the household levels of wealth – unite people through sport, culture and language, and boost tourism”.
Rajoy highlighted the benefits of the proposal made by the President of the People’s Republic of China for our companies, since this revolves around building land and sea infrastructures to unite different people around the world and improve trade – an activity in which Spanish companies have extensive experience. “This is something that no-one tries to bring into question or rebut, because Spain is a leading global power in terms of infrastructure”, he underlined. Mariano Rajoy also pointed out that Spanish companies engaged in exporting technology, communications systems and traffic management are global leaders.
Rajoy considers that the fact that there is a clear commitment to trade around the world benefits our country and improves its levels of well-being and wealth. “Whenever we have looked overseas, things have gone well for us. If our economic recovery started somewhere specific, it was aboard, when our entrepreneurs started to travel from Spain and invest there. We have now enjoyed a foreign trade surplus for the last four years, which shows the competitiveness of the Spanish economy, and the government forecasts another four years with a foreign trade surplus”, added Rajoy.
The operation proposed as a result of the Belt and Road Forum is fundamental for tourism, specified Rajoy. “Spain is a leading global tourism power; we are the second-highest leading global power in this sector that provides jobs for some 2.3 million people. Hence, everything related to boosting tourism and uniting people is very important for our country”.
Another of the aims of the New Silk Road is “to unite people through sport and culture”. Mariano Rajoy considers promoting the Spanish language to be very important and pointed this out during his speech at this international forum. On this point, he announced that a commitment will be made to foster education exchanges, something which “will undoubtedly serve to enrich people culturally, to help us better know one another and be able to act as a consequence of this and work towards a better world”.
According to Rajoy, “Spain has some major advantages because we have leading companies, a very good tourism sector, the Spanish language and we are a leading cultural and sporting power”. However, he stressed that “the most important contribution Spain can make is as a link between Asia and Europe with both Africa and Latin America”.
Domestic current affairs
At the end of his speech and in response to questions from the media, Mariano Rajoy insisted that he will continue to work towards ensuring that the General State Budget receives the votes necessary to be pushed through.
“It makes absolutely no sense to halt the passage of the Budget because there are items contained therein that benefit our citizens as a whole, above all in areas of healthcare and education. At this time, stopping the Budget’s passage through Parliament is of absolutely no benefit to anyone and prejudices a great many people, above all the vast majority of Spanish people”, stressed Mariano Rajoy. “We have made a great effort to talk to everyone, as can be seen by the fact that we have reached understandings with several political parties and have obtained 175 votes in favour, and we will continue to do this in the future”, he added.
In reference to the Decree on stevedores, Mariano Rajoy stated that he was confident that this will be approved on Thursday, 18 May in the Lower House of Parliament. “The Minister for Public Works has been very persistent and should this finally be approved he will have done a great service to his country, which is the main issue here”. Mariano Rajoy considers that “it makes no sense for the Parliament of a democratic country, and, moreover, an important member of the European Union, like Spain, to overrule the Court of Justice of the European Union and say that it is not prepared to uphold its ruling. That would be an attack by part of a democratic parliament on the rule of law and it is incomprehensible that this could happen in Spain”, stated Rajoy.
As regards the issues that could be discussed with the Socialist Party, Mariano Rajoy believes that it is possible to reach understandings on many issues, the most important of which at this time “is defending national sovereignty and national unity. I imagine that the Socialist Party will rise to the circumstance; I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t”.
He also considers that issues relating to the European agenda could be discussed with the PSOE and on putting together a common defence and foreign policy. “These are medium- and long-term issues, but all of this will need to be discussed at some time with the socialists. I have every intention of reaching an understanding; that is not just what I want but it is also my obligation”, he stressed.
“We have a great advantage, which is that things are going well from an economic perspective, we are now coming out of the worst economic crisis that Spain has seen in decades. So, let’s not take the wrong path now and let ourselves get sidetracked by issues that aren’t important”, concluded Rajoy.